All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

181

Vijay Iyer Trio: Accelerando

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
On the surface, Accelerando follows the same basic format as Historicity (ACT Music, 2009), the debut of pianist Vijay Iyer's working trio with bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore. Though once again divided between Iyer's complex originals and some surprising covers, this eclectic sophomore session attains an even greater sense of cohesion than its predecessor, courtesy of a common aesthetic denominator. As Iyer states in the liner notes "This album is in the lineage of American creative music based on dance rhythms." From the rhapsodic crescendos of the pianist's "Optimism" to a phantasmagoric deconstruction of Michael Jackson's "Human Nature," Iyer and company re-imagine the role of rhythm in American popular music within the acoustic parameters afforded a traditional piano trio.

A gifted academic with numerous degrees to his credit (including a Ph.D in Technology and the Arts from University of California, Berkeley) Iyer is a post-modern Renaissance man whose cross-cultural collaborations have included a variety of artists, from AACM legends Roscoe Mitchell and Wadada Leo Smith to underground hip-hop artists Das Racist and Mike Ladd. Drawing inspiration from these disparate sources, Iyer's harmonically rich writing and crafty arrangements boast a sophisticated rhythmic sensibility; dynamic tempo shifts, modulating time signatures and interlocking counterpoint imbue his accessible themes with an adventurous and unpredictable foundation.

Serving as his primary rhythm section since 2005, Crump and Gilmore interpret the leader's challenging structures with gracefully understated virtuosity. Crump's pulsating bass lines and Gilmore's cascading salvos interlock with the leader's hypnotic arpeggios and quicksilver runs, their keen interplay generating a beguiling assortment of cantilevered cross-rhythms. The asymmetric pulsations of Heatwave's disco hit "The Star of a Story" and mesmerizing spirals of Iyer's "Actions Speak" are indicative of the trio's riveting approach towards a wide array of material, including intriguing renditions of tunes by Herbie Nichols and Henry Threadgill.

Two distinctive pieces originally scored for dance bring Iyer's concept full circle. The edgy title track, with its capriciously vacillating tempos, was conceived as part of the UnEasy suite for choreographer Karole Armitage. The other is a sublime gospel reading of Duke Ellington's "The Village of the Virgins," which was culled from The River, an opulent ballet score written for Alvin Ailey. Finding thematic concordance in such seemingly dissimilar source material, Accelerando is a masterful collection that balances high-minded conceptualism with heartfelt conviction.

Track Listing: Bode; Optimism; The Star of a Story; Human Nature (Trio Extension); Wildflower; Mmmhmm; Little Pocket Size Demons; Lude; Accelerando; Actions Speak; The Village of the Virgins.

Personnel: Vijay Iyer: piano; Stephan Crump: bass; Marcus Gilmore: drums.

Title: Accelerando | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: ACT Music

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Kinship CD/LP/Track Review
Kinship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2018
Read Ask For Chaos CD/LP/Track Review
Ask For Chaos
by Gareth Thompson
Published: August 18, 2018
Read Homage to a Dreamer CD/LP/Track Review
Homage to a Dreamer
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: August 18, 2018
Read Live At Cafe Amores CD/LP/Track Review
Live At Cafe Amores
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2018
Read Passion Reverence Transcendence CD/LP/Track Review
Passion Reverence Transcendence
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: August 17, 2018
Read Inner Voice CD/LP/Track Review
Inner Voice
by Don Phipps
Published: August 17, 2018
Read "The Treasury Shows Vol. 25" CD/LP/Track Review The Treasury Shows Vol. 25
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 11, 2018
Read "Before Dawn" CD/LP/Track Review Before Dawn
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 30, 2018
Read "Unleashed" CD/LP/Track Review Unleashed
by John Sharpe
Published: January 20, 2018
Read "Äventyret" CD/LP/Track Review Äventyret
by Troy Dostert
Published: December 5, 2017
Read "A Thing Called Joe" CD/LP/Track Review A Thing Called Joe
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 7, 2017
Read "Chimeric Stoned Horn" CD/LP/Track Review Chimeric Stoned Horn
by Karl Ackermann
Published: September 3, 2017